On February 17, a popular actress was allegedly kidnapped and then molested for a few hours in a moving car in Kerala’s Kochi town by a five-man gang who also reportedly took pictures and videos of her before releasing her. Preliminary investigations revealed that Martin, her driver, who had been with the actor for the last couple of years, had been part of a conspiracy to kidnap her. The actress was sexually harassed for two hours allegedly by the five men, who forced their way into her car before fleeing at a busy area. She was later taken to the house of film director Lal in Thrikkakara by Martin. Kochi police arrested Martin, on charges of kidnapping and molesting her. (Picture for representational purposes)
Police had deputed its various teams to places including Coimbatore in search of at least six more culprits involved in the crime. Kerala DGP Loknath Behera constituted a special investigation team to probe the case, following widespread condemnation of the incident. The actress in her complaint to police stated that on Friday night her car was hit from the rear by a tempo traveller van at Athani, between Aluva and Angamaly. (Picture for representational purposes)
Leading members of the Malayalam film industry such as Prithviraj (L), Mohanlal (R) and Suresh Gopi condemned the incident and expressed their moral support to the actress.
Police discovered that the prime accused in the case Pulsar Suni spoke to six prominent persons, including a leading film producer, from the industry, his phone records showed. Cops learnt he planned the kidnap, received a call from a leading film producer, whose phone was revealed to be switched off since then. (Picture for representational purposes)
On February 19, police announced that Pulsar Suni, who was key accused in the abduction of the Malayalam actess escaped. After monitoring his mobile telephone, police found that he was in Alappuzha. But before the accused, a driver, could be intercepted, he reportedly gave the slip. Another accused also escaped minutes before the police reached their hideout. But a friend who came to meet Pulsar Suni was taken into custody, the sources said. (Picture for representational purposes)
Pulsar Suni and two others involved in the abduction of a popular film actress sought anticipatory bail in the Kerala High Court. A police team led by Inspector General P. Vijayan did not reveal details about the investigation but says they have been able to track down all the accused. They made three arrests and are keeping a close tab on the prime accused and three others. (Picture for representational purposes)
The search operations to nab two of the accused involved in the abduction and harassment of a noted South Indian actress continued for the fourth day, with police taking into custody one person from Palakkad. Efforts were underway to nab the alleged mastermind Pulsar Suni (pictured) and another accused V P Vigeesh. Manikandan was taken into custody from Palakkad. He had moved an anticipatory bail application in the Kerala High Court along with Suni and Vigeesh, claiming that they had been "falsely implicated" in the crime on the basis of the "confession" statement of Martin, the driver of the actress.
Pulsar Suni was arrested on February 23, along with an accomplice. Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra confirmed their arrests to the media, but refrained from providing any additional details. (Picture for representational purposes)
Over a week after being abducted and assaulted in Kochi, the actress broke her silence on the matter and said life has shown her things she never wanted to see but is confident that she 'would always get up'. She thanked all those who supported her in an post on Instagram. Her post read, "Life has knocked me down a few times, it showed methings I never wanted to see. I experienced sadness and failures. But one thing for sure, I always get up! ThankYouAll# ForTheLove#ForThePrayers" (Picture for representational purposes)
The case turned murkier on June 24, with popular Malayalam film personality, Nadir Shah, alleging he received a call from a close aide of Pulsar Suni, the prime accused, linking superstar Dileep to the case. Shah, a film actor and director, told reporters that in March he got a call from a person by name Vishnu, who asked him to tell Dileep that if the latter does not give him Rs 1.50 crore he would be forced to inform police that the superstar was involved in the conspiracy to kidnap the popular actress.
On June 27, the Congress party alleged that the Malayalam actress kidnap case has been bungled by Kerala Police. Former Home Minister and present Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala blamed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for the lack of outcome of the case. "Soon after the kidnap episode, Vijayan at a public meeting passed the judgment that there is no conspiracy," Chennithala said, adding that it led to the case remaining unsolved for so long. He said Vijayan's public statement was why even after so long so many versions exist about what happened, "with the truth still not coming out"
On 10th July, Malayalam superstar Dileep was arrested by a Kerala Police teamprobing the abduction of the actress. The office of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed the news of the arrest to the media. He has been remanded to 14-day judicial custody. Dilip's bail plea and application for for police custody will be heard by the Angamaly judicial magistrate court. Police sources say he nursed a grudge against the actress for allegedly passing information regarding his affair with actress Kavya Madhavan to his then-wife Manju Warrier. Cops feel this would have provoked him to plot revenge. His name was removed from the primary membership of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA). Dileep was questioned last month for 13 hours in the case and was let off. On the day of his arrest, he was questioned at an undisclosed location near here, and after five hours the police probe team recorded the arrest of the actor. Around 7.20 p.m., Dileep was brought to the Aluva Police club from the place where he was questioned.